An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter [2000/06] – ★★★★
A curious novella which is part travelogue, part biography, part historical fiction, part meditation on art, and part tribute to the beauty of Argentinian landscape.
What a landscape artist would be capable of doing for the love of art? Can they be capable of risking their life? What is human life in comparison to the eternity which is art?, they may ask. In today’s world of extravagant selfies, some taken in exotic locations and maybe even under relatively dangerous conditions, this short novella by Argentinian fiction writer César Aira may even feel ironically relevant again. Aira takes the real story of German landscape artist Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802 – 1858) and re-imagines one of the episodes from his life when Rugendas travelled as a documentary painter across tropical jungles and mountainous scenery of South America. César Aira’s 90 page-book surprises with its simplicity, humour and insights into the craft of an artist.Continue reading “Review: An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by César Aira”